Could LPG be the answer for Edinburgh cabbies?

The City of Edinburgh has a large fleet of taxis and private hire vehicles which some might say contribute to the air pollution problems and in and around the capital city.  

The main focus of new licensing criteria in the Scottish capital centres around the appropriate tailpipe emissions for the age of the vehicle and the maximum age of vehicles allowed to operate within the city.

According to Autogas Limited black taxis running on LPG as part of the cities taxi fleet can meet this criteria and would contribute greatly to meeting the targets of Scotland’s Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

Current proposals in Edinburgh suggest that the maximum age limit for all taxis before they are decommissioned will be set at around 8 to 10 years for all Diesel, Petrol & LPG Taxis regardless of their tailpipe emissions. These proposals would contrast with the action of Transport for London (TfL) who have extended the life of vehicles converted to LPG to run for a further 5 years, meaning drivers can operate the Taxis until they are 20 years old and limits their initial investment considerably. 

Without the incentive of a life extension for LPG repowering on Taxis in Edinburgh the solution is left out of reach for many drivers therefore leaving them with very few affordable sustainable options.

The LPG Taxi contributes greatly to improving air quality as independent emissions testing showed that an LPG taxi will emit 99% less Particulate Matter and 80% less NOx, as well as 7% less CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). Black Taxis converted to LPG will meet Euro 6 vehicle standards meaning that all taxis will meet the current strict emission rulings despite their age.

Further benefits include a low initial investment (in comparison to the current electric alternatives and their required infrastructure) as taxis drivers can keep their existing vehicle, lower maintenance costs compared the diesel, and also a substantial 20-30% lower fuel costs.

A transition from diesel to LPG is made easier by the robust existing refuelling infrastructure (5 sites supply Autogas within the city of Edinburgh). This coupled with the 300 – 400 mile driving range mean the routine drivers are used to is likely to remain the same and won’t disrupt their working day.

As a prime working example LPG taxis now running in Birmingham as part of a NOx Reduction project has seen feedback from both customers and drivers reporting that the overall journey experience is dramatically improved. 

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